Earlier this month the Ministry of Health ordered the closure of El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence on grounds that it violated its licence. The centre was established as an NGO in August 1993 to offer psychological rehabilitation to victims of torture and to providemedicolegal reports whenever necessary. The recent closure order of the centre triggered the antagonism of rights activists regionally and globally, and controversy amid media circles.
According to Khaled Megahed, spokesperson for the Health Ministry, El Nadeem was licensed in 1993 as a psychiatric and neurological clinic by the Central Administration of Therapeutic Non-Governmental Organisations, and gained accreditation by the Health Ministry in 2003. However, he added, the clinic altered its activity to a rehabilitation centre for victims of torture without applying for a change in license, which is an explicit violation of the law.
The clinic committed two violations, Dr Megahed said. First, it changed its name from clinic to centre; licences for clinics and centres are not the same. Second, it changed its activity from medical to rights activity. This, Dr Megahed said, called for the closure of El Nadeem.
“The clinic is free to change its operation and to register itself as a rights organisation,” Dr Megahed said. “But in order to do so, it must abide by the relevant legal procedures that organise the operation of rights organisations. It should not have circumvented these regulations.”
The Health Ministry had warned El Nadeem, against a deadline, to rectify its position, Dr Megahed said. Yet nothing was done, so the clinic had to be closed.
Worth mentioning is that in 2004 the Central Administration of the Therapeutic Non-Governmental Organisations closed down El Nadeem for one month when during a routine inspection it was discovered that the clinic was carrying out a different activity than the one cited in its licence.
26 February 2016